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How Google Photos works

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How Google Photos works: You are a lover of photography and when you are away from home you always take lots of photos from your smartphone. Unfortunately, this passion of yours also has consequences, such as having your device’s memory always full, the need to frequently back up photos taken on a PC, in order to free up space on your smartphone. Yeah, a real nuisance, I understand you. What if I told you that I can suggest an alternative to your manual photo backups on your PC, through a smartphone app that automatically uploads and organizes photos online?

No, it’s not science fiction at all! I’m simply suggesting you try Google Photos: an application available on Android and iOS mobile devices, which automatically creates a backup copy of photos and videos made on smartphones and tablets, cataloging and organizing them to allow them to be found more easily. How do you say? Have you heard of it but never had the opportunity to go deeper into the subject? Okay, then take some free time to read my guide calmly.

In the next chapters, I will explain to you in detail how Google Photos works and how you can use it on both Android and iPhone and computers. Don’t worry if you are new to the world of technology: in this tutorial of mine, I will explain you step by step how Google Photos backup works. You will see, I am sure that at the end of the reading you will agree with me about the usefulness of this tool and you will be able to share what you have learned with all your friends in need of a similar tip. Ready to get started? Yup? Perfect! I wish you a good read!

Preliminary information

Google Photos

Before getting to the heart of this guide, it seems right to me to make an overview of Google Photos: a Google service that, as already mentioned, allows you to synchronize photos and videos in the cloud and therefore always have them available on any device. But not only.

Google Photos is also a photo gallery with intelligent features that catalogs photos and videos automatically in order of importance, also integrating some features for photo editing and allowing the creation of movies, collages, animations automatically or manually, through a tool called Assistant.

If you are wondering how syncing works on Google Photos, I’ll explain it in detail: you need to know that Google Photos allows you to backup photos and videos completely free of charge (High quality). This service, however, is limited to uploading photos at a maximum quality of 16MP, while for videos the resolution is up to 1080p (FullHD). This means that photos and videos with a higher quality than indicated will be compressed to respect these limits.

Since this type of backup can take time to upload to the cloud, you can also take advantage of the functionality Express (only on Android), which performs free and unlimited synchronization of photos with a maximum quality of 3MP and videos at the maximum resolution of 480p (Standard Definition).

In case you do not want to compress your photos and videos and therefore want to maintain their original quality (for example photos taken at more than 16MP and videos in 4K), you can upload these multimedia contents by purchasing plans on Google One, through the synchronization setting Original quality.

Google One pricing

Prices for a cloud storage space start at 1.99 euros / month for 100GB, 2.99 euros / month for 200GB, until you get to 299.99 euros / month for 30TB. Since Google services are provided with an initial free storage space (15GB), you can take advantage of the service in original quality as long as you run out of free space.

To use Google Photos you must have a Google account. If you use a smartphone Android, you will probably already have a Google Account, as you will have associated or created it in initial configuration phase of your device, since it is also used to access the Play Store; you can therefore also use it for Google Photos.

If, on the other hand, you use a device iOS and this is the first time you use Google services, I refer you to my guide on how to create Google accounts. You will find all the information you need to perform this preliminary procedure. If you already have a Google account, however, you can safely continue reading: in the following chapters, I will explain in detail how Google Photos works on all the devices for which it is available.

How Google Photos works on Android

Google Photos on Android

If you own a device Android, you should find the app of Google Photos already available by default on your smartphone or tablet. If not, you can download it from the Play Store, through this link.

To start it, search Google Photos in the list of apps installed on your device and presses its icon. Once opened, if you have not yet logged in with your Google account, enter your login credentials.

Once this is done, you will be asked if you want to enable the backup functionality immediately or postpone it later. In case you skipped this step, in the main screen of the app, tap on the icon ☰, located at the top left, and select the item Settings, to open the menu dedicated to the app settings. Now tap on the voice Backup and synchronization and verify that backup and synchronization are active. If not, move up ON the appropriate lever that is shown to you.

Also, if you wish, by pressing on the item Device folders backed up, you can enable synchronization of specific folders on the device, to back up the photos also in other folders, such as the one with the photos of Whatsapp you hate Instagram. To the voice Backup mode, you can set the quality of the photos, as I explained in the introductory chapter; I remind you that the option is automatically set High quality, which allows you to get free and unlimited storage.

Instead, make sure that synchronization on the data network is disabled, to avoid unwanted charges if you have to exceed the data traffic included in your SIM. In this regard, press on the item Use of the data network and choose the item No data. Alternatively, you can set the daily backup limit, chosen from 5MB, 10MB, 30MB or Unlimited. If you travel abroad, move up instead OFF the lever next to the wording Back up while you’re roaming.

In the settings panel you can also press on the item Free up space on your device, to remove photos and videos that have already been backed up from memory.

How Google Photos works on iPhone

Google Photos on iPhone

You can use Google Photos even if you have a iPhone or a iPad. The Google app for cloud storage can, in this case, be configured as an alternative to iCloud, the default cloud platform for Apple mobile devices, which also offers a service dedicated to backup photos and videos.

You can use Google Photos up iOS (starting with version 10 of the operating system) or on iPadOS, by downloading the app from the App Store. Once downloaded and installed correctly on your device, launch it using its icon on the home screen.

At this point, allow Google Photos access to your photos, responding affirmatively to the request that is shown to you on the screen. Once this is done, log in with your Google account, if you have never configured one on your iPhone / iPad, and press on the item Back up, to immediately activate synchronization; otherwise press up Don’t back up, to customize the configuration.

In the latter case, press on the icon , which you find at the top left, and presses on the wording Settings, to access the service configuration panel. Then press on the item Backup and synchronization and move up ON the appropriate lever that you see.

At this point, choose the type of backup you want to make by pressing on the item Loading dimensions located a little lower, and choosing between High quality or Original (about the differences between the two I told you about it in this chapter of the guide). Also, if you don’t want the data network to be used for backup, move up OFF the levers alongside the wordings Use the data network to back up your photos is Use the data network to back up your videos.

At this point you will have finished configuring the application and you will only have to wait for your media library to be backed up. Using Google Photos, you no longer have to worry about the storage space on your device.

The photos that have been backed up are stored online and you can, therefore, possibly remove them from the memory of your device. You can do this by pressing the button Free up space, which you find by reaching the rumors Settings> Manage storage space.

How Google Photos works on PC

Google Photos from the Web

Being a cloud storage tool for multimedia content, Google Photos it is also easily accessible from a PC, both for viewing and for uploading it. The operation of Google Photos is very similar to that of the app for Android and iOS / iPadOS.

Going into more detail, you have two possibilities for use Google Photos on PC: take advantage of web panel, through which to upload photos and videos manually and view the contents already present on the cloud, or the appropriate one desktop client, for automatic content synchronization.

To use Google Photos from the web, first connect to main page of the service and log in with your Google account (the same one you used to access the app). If you click on the icon , you will have access to the panel through which you can adjust the quality of the photos loaded, using your voice Settings.

What you need to do is choose whether to upload photos using the settings Original or High quality, which I told you about in this chapter. Once this is done, you can upload photos and videos by pressing on theupload icon (the one with the upward arrow symbol) located at the top right.

Google Photos on PC

If you have a lot of photos and videos that you don’t want to upload manually, as it would take too long, you can download the official Google desktop client, Backup and Synchronization, which uploads content automatically. All you have to do is reach this link and press the buttons Download Backup and Sync is Accept and download.

Download complete, if you use Windows, open the .exe file got, press up Yup, wait for the client installation process to be completed and press on Close, to exit the installation screen. Up MacOS, instead, double-click the .dmg file obtained and drag the Google client icon to the folder Applications of the Mac.

After performing the procedures described above, it’s time to configure the desktop client to upload your multimedia files. In the Google client screen that is shown to you, press the button It begins and log in with your account.

After that, you have to select the folders you want to sync. Press the button OK and, in the screen that is shown to you, put a check mark on the box Upload photos and videos to Google Photos and set the upload quality, chosen from Original quality is High quality, as I explained in the my introduction.

Now, choose the folders to be included in the synchronization, selecting them from the top box or locating them on the PC, using the button Choose folder. At this point, press the button Forward and, in the next section, decide if you also want to sync yours Google Drive. In this case, you don’t need it, so you can also disable this feature: the choice is yours. Then press up start, to start backing up your photos.